Relationships matter.  We think today that the scripture is giving us a stricter interpretation of the law of Moses (Matthew 5:21-37).  Just look at all the things Jesus is telling us.  If you wish your brother or sister dead you are a murderer, if you look at another woman with lust you have committed adultery and we get so caught up in the right and wrong of it we loose sight of the little verse fit in between it all.  "So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-24)."

After all the extra rules relate to being reconciled.  Just look at our world today, South Sudan has a stalled peace process, there is division in our government which causes us to loose sight of the people it is supposed to serve, there are divisions in families, friendships, churches.  Do we even understand what reconciliation and peace look like?  This is why relationships matter to God, so that we are not hurting one another, but caring for one another.

The bishops of South Sudan have called for experts to be sent in reconciliation training.  They understand that in order to have a sustained peace relationships matter.  They need to forgive, heal, and forge ahead together, not split apart.  It is an important step for the country and for the church to take.  It must be done.

We need to take those steps in our own lives.  Today hold in your heart your best friend.  The person you go to when you have joys or sorrows, the person who you share the most with.  Hold them in your heart and pray for them.  Then hold in your heart someone who you find difficult to get along with.  Don't start thinking of right or wrong, just hold them in your heart.  Now pray for them. 

See if this doesn't change your heart as you go along.  Try it for a month, maybe even a year.  See if God doesn't start to change you instead of insisting on change to come from another.  You may find deep blessings, and a new look at your relationship with God.